May 28, 2023

The first stage of the project “Russian oak grove” for the restoration of a unique oak grove on the territory of the Main Botanical Garden named after I.I. N. V. Tsitsina in Moscow. Volunteers of the Russian Geographical Society have prepared the site for planting pedunculate oak seedlings, which will begin on April 22. Sergey Rysin, head of the dendrology department of the botanical garden, spoke about the results of the work carried out.

The first mention of the Ostankino oak forest (Erdenyevskaya grove) dates back to 1584. Here, on the lands of the princes Cherkassky, the father of Peter I, Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, loved to hunt. This protected area can rightly be called a historical landmark of the country. In recent years, the researchers of the botanical garden have noted an increasing number of drying trees in the oak grove. In some areas, the pedunculate oak has disappeared almost completely. The environmental project “Russian oak forest” of the Foundation for the Promotion of the Development of Botanical Gardens (FSRBS), the Main Botanical Garden named after A.I. N. V. Tsitsina with the support of the Youth Club of the Russian Geographical Society.

To restore the historical appearance of the oak grove, it is planned to plant 1,500 trees. The seedlings were grown for five years in a special nursery of the botanical garden. All of them are obtained from acorns collected from the same centuries-old oaks of the legendary Erdenyevskaya grove. Activists of the Volunteer Corps and Youth Clubs of the Russian Geographical Society, schoolchildren, students, activists of public associations and volunteer organizations have already joined the project.

– What types of work were carried out by volunteers last Saturday?

This Saturday, the volunteers completed the final stage of preparing the territory for planting young oaks. They did two types of work. First, it was necessary to remove excess vegetation, which can compete with and subsequently oppress young oaks. Secondly, volunteers prepared wood chips to be used as mulch. Mulch is a substrate that prevents the development of weeds, and it also delays the evaporation of moisture from the soil surface. When we plant oaks, the mulch will protect them from adverse influences. Since mid-February, the employees of the botanical garden, together with volunteers, have cleared the site, removed all emergency and diseased trees. As a result, favorable conditions were created for the growth of oaks.

— How did the idea to restore the “Russian oak forest” come about?

About 200 hectares of forest are still preserved on the territory of the Botanical Garden. Most of the forests are oak plantations. Oak is a valuable tree in every respect. It is durable, beautiful and has been growing in these places for hundreds of years. Without human help, oaks can disappear in 50-60 years. Everywhere oak forests reduce their area, leave, and we are no exception. Moscow is a big city with a difficult ecological situation, so the oaks are gradually disappearing. The project that we are implementing is a search for ways to preserve oak forests in a big city.

– When will the first plantings of young oaks be?

The first landings will take place next Saturday. We have carefully grown young trees from local acorns in the nursery, and we also have acorns for sowing. So everything is ready for planting young oak seedlings.

— How effectively do volunteers help you in your work?

Before the appearance of volunteers, we were even afraid to think that we could implement this project. The process is laborious and responsible. Now the mood is different, the work is in full swing every Saturday. It turns out very beautiful. Thank you all very much!

Date and time of the next gathering of volunteers: April 22 from 10:00 to 14:00. This Saturday, the planting of the first oak seedlings will begin, grown in the nursery thanks to the painstaking work of the scientists of the botanical garden for five years. We recommend that you bring work gloves, a bottle of water, a thermos with warm tea. We are waiting for all caring people, including schoolchildren aged 13 to 17 (accompanied by parents or teachers). Work uniform, comfortable shoes.

You can take part in the restoration of the unique oak grove on any weekend until the end of May 2023, leaving application on the website of the Youth Club of the Russian Geographical Society.

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